It's wafer-thin, but it has plenty of laughs — a lot of them involving
Elizabeth Banks plays Wendy, a self-help book author, a pregnancy expert who has never been able to get pregnant herself. Until now. She and hubby Gary (Ben Falcone) are all set to glow with the "angel's kisses" of "this miracle." And then her husband's ex-race car driver dad (
Anna Kendrick is the food-truck chef whose one-night tumble with a high school flame (Chace Crawford), also a food-truck cook, put her in a family way.
Cameron Diaz is a TV fitness guru newly pregnant with her "Celebrity Dance Factor" partner (
"Ready? There's no such thing as ready," Rock's character, Vic, bellows. "You just jump on a moving train, and die."
Every so often, the "dudes" (
And then we return to Wendy, who has built a career out of romanticizing this experience. If Rock is the voice of comic wisdom in "What to Expect," Banks is its heart. She brings pathos and humor to a character who is hell-bent on loving this circle-of-life thing, until she's overwhelmed.
Interestingly, the actresses involved in this movie all chose to play characters outside their own parenting experience. Lopez has children, and plays a woman who can't. Banks, playing a woman determined to love pregnancy, had her baby through a surrogate. Kendrick and Diaz and model-turned-actress Decker aren't moms.
That doesn't hurt the film, which is basically a light, superficial and frothy little romp through the pregnancy experience. It's choppy and episodic, and funny — especially when Rock, a veteran dad in real life — is holding court. But the overarching message is both moving and amusing.
Expecting a baby? You have no idea what to expect.
'What to Expect When You're Expecting' -- 2 1/2 stars
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for crude and sexual content, thematic elements and language)
Running time: 1:38